Its tough to survive in the restaurant and bar industry.
Just having good food doesn’t cut it anymore.
You have to have style to make it.
You have to be the place that everyone is talking about…
And you have to STAY the place that everyone is talking about… which is TOUGH!
That’s why a lot of places fizzle out several months after opening.
Flashy modern places come and go as “Whats Hip” changes.
You can’t be a hipster forever unfortunately 🙁
But, one way to get ahead and stay ahead is to have a rustic wood themed spot.
Why? Because the Rustic Theme is timeless.
And its great for a bar.
Imean… if you’re going to sell all sorts of bourbon barrel aged liquids you might as well have a barrel.
So I went on a mission to find the best rustic wood themed restaurants in Chicago.
Here is what I remember:
10. Bar Pastoral
- Bar Pastoral is a narrow Lakeview storefront transformed into a warm, rustic space.
- You walk in and see this multi-wood bar and beautiful set of built ins with wine bottles. It feels cozy and expensive, and even though a somewhat small place, has a private feel when you are at your table.
- The custom herringbone wine shelves are reclaimed Black Walnut barn wood from Cambridge, IL.
- Gorgeous dark woods, exposed brick walls, beautiful bar counter, elegant light fixtures and a domed textured ceiling set a wonderful ambiance that is enhanced by the friendly personnel.
9. High Noon Saloon
- A bold and modern interpretation of an old Western saloon, High Noon Saloo displays the elements of reclaimed barn wood floors and shelves with old west wallpapers and rustic barn rafters.
- The decor inside is rustic wood and small chandeliers while the saloon doors leading to the kitchen were a nice touch as well.
- A modern western theme, High Noon Saloon has a wooden beamed ceiling, lace and tasseled lamp shades, sparkly chandeliers, and silver beer mugged lining the back of the bar.
8. Girl & the Goat
- Girl & the Goat is known for its lively and electric atmosphere, a setting that makes its family style menu of bold, flavorful foods with global influences all the more exciting, not too trendy or gimmicky. It has a lot of wood warmth.
- The interior is impressive, dark lighting with dark wood and exposed rafters.
- “Rustic” might refer to the burnt cedar wood and exposed beams or maybe to the brilliant iron fireplace covers behind a French oak bar.
- Inside, you’ll find that the long, narrow venue is constructed floor-to-ceiling from shimmery reclaimed wood.
- It’s a fun vibe, as diners are tightly packed at a long counter and communal seating in the chic wood plank encased room; servers do a good job attending to the crowd.
- The austerely minimalistic, wood-lined room is inviting at midday. Though its uncushioned banquette and backless stools aren’t conducive to long, leisurely meals, they’re fine for an hour or so.
6. YUZU Sushi
- Ancient and modern accents work in harmony at Yuzu, where hand-painted anime murals catch the eye above weathered plank wainscoting. A century-old wooden slab finds new life as a sushi counter, where diners sip sodas from Ball jars.
- The room is filled with wooden tables and metal chairs while the walls are adorned with intricate Japanese comic characters.
5. Old Crow
- Barn wood siding, vintage signage, and a long bar are the principal design elements.
- It is gorgeous with high wooden rafters and wooden crafted tables and chairs.
- Features include Chicago’s largest retractable roof, retractable doors on the front of the building, and an alluring smell emanating from the smoker so you can feel the energy as you walk into the building.
4. Moe’s Cantina
- Moe’s shakes up a number of specialty drinks, which you can enjoy at its 80-foot-long bar or at any of the eatery’s tables — which, like its 12-foot garage doors, are made from reclaimed wood.
- The exposed bricks walls, custom-made wrought iron chandeliers, and open kitchens with wood-burning grills make for a warm, inviting atmosphere that is perfect for a meal with family and friends.
3. Bub City
- Bub City features a large wood & brick bar with a country-Western theme & a menu of BBQ/American comfort food.
- The bar is made from reclaimed barn wood, a vintage 49 Ford grille, a vintage roof tin on cast iron casters; Bub City has a rustic, country feel that brings a much needed, different vibe to River North Chicago.
2. Palor Pizza
- The Green St. space is massive. High ceilings with exposed duct work and beams give it a warehouse vibe.
- A huge bar anchors the front of the house and an equally large pizza bar sits in back. In between is an explosion of reclaimed wood tables, bistro chairs, and oversized black leather booths.
- The two-story space includes an industrial-chic dining room with a pizza bar over looking the ovens and an outdoor patio.
1. Goose Island
- Goose Island recently opened a new barrel aging facility, christened “The Staviary”, that features a slew of custom wood furniture – 12’ conference table, coffee table, stools, desks, shelving, printer station, rolling barn door, and unique hand painted signs – all built with reclaimed wood.
- Previously maintenance and storage space, the taproom is built of gleaming white and black tile, reclaimed wood, cement floors and an original external wall of brick and glass block.
- The tasting room is tidy yet rustic, and Goose Island made an effort to keep things local. There is a wall of exposed brick and exposed light bulbs dangling over the bar. The wood used in the tabletops and bar is reclaimed; a wooden map of northern Illinois crafted by a local artisan occupies one wall.